Catching Up With Alumni: Selin (Class of 2017, Turkey) - UWC ISAK Japan

Catching Up With Alumni: Selin (Class of 2017, Turkey)

Written by Himanshu (Class of 2017, Nepal) and Yuna (Class of 2017, Japan)

We recently caught up with Selin (Class of 2017, Turkey) to see how she is doing a year out of ISAK. Selin has moved around a lot in her life due to her parents’ jobs, but is now back home for university, studying Political Science and Public Administration with a minor in International Relations at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.  

Do you have specific examples of how something you learned at ISAK has been helping you now?
At ISAK, I learned how to plan events, organise trips and submit documents for approval. These organisational skills helped me in university when it came to planning events which required successfully fundraising and acquiring sponsors. Even day-to-day people skills, from knowing who and how to talk to people to writing emails, I am surprised how much ISAK prepared me for things not everyone seems to be able to do instinctively.

As a member of the first graduating class, what are your thoughts on your experience in building ISAK?
One of the greatest aspects of being at ISAK was the fact that we were able to shape the culture and be accountable and responsible for anything we wanted to change (or keep the same). However, with that in mind, I did feel as though the community in the beginning could have been more receptive to feedback. If someone pointed out a problem without providing a solution, nothing would change. Being new, a solution couldn’t always yet exist. As a past Summer School counselor, I saw the difference it made when everyone embraced feedback and created a space to voice our concerns and brainstorm solutions together. Feedback is a gift, and being new, we especially needed it.

How would you describe the people, the place and the experiences?
ISAK was full of thought-provoking and direct learning experiences. Whenever something did not turn out the way we expected it to, there was no one else to blame besides ourselves because we were the ones who were continuously creating the culture. We didn’t have the excuse of “This is how it’s always been!” because we were directly responsible for the ‘status quo’, and we had the power to change it too. Not only did we have the freedom to decide what we wanted our school to be, but we were also directly responsible when things didn’t always go according to plan. This was the perfect way to see how actions can have consequences that you didn’t initially imagine.

How do you view your experience of joining ISAK in your class’ second year? Do you have any advice for National Committee students who will join in the second year as well?
My experience was definitely different from that of most of the members of the Class of 2017. In the first year, there was only one grade, whereas when I came, there was already one other class on campus. I would say to the NC students to be ready to get out of your comfort zones. Be ready to see friendships that have already been established, but don’t be afraid to mingle with both old and new. Throw yourself in, and you will eventually end up finding your people!

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